Will the Chicago Bears top ten pick get on the field often in his rookie debut?
There is much anticipation for the Chicago Bears season debut. Allen Robinson off of his ACL. Khalil Mack is fresh off of a trade. And of course, the debut of top ten pick Roquan Smith, and the first time he steps foot on an NFL football field after missing the preseason.
In missing the preseason, Smith is a peculiar case. When the Chicago Bears released their depth chart, Khalil Mack and Robinson were starters. They are veterans who have earned the right to respect their conditioning. Roquan Smith has never seen NFL conditioning. There is no doubt that of the three; he will be on the biggest pitch count.
So, how much will he play? The team will undoubtedly want to get him on the field. This will likely come on heavy passing downs. Smith probably will get on the field for any dime situations and would be a better bet than Nick Kwiatkoski in some nickel spots.
The Green Bay Packers added Mercedes Lewis and Jimmy Graham to utilize tight ends more. The Athletic has a great piece behind a pay wall highlighting how the Packers may use them. If the team is often passing out of heavy tight end formations, the Bears may be best off getting Smith on the field. He can match up with these tight ends with speed over the middle of the field better than either starting linebacker.
You would expect somewhere near 20 snaps played for Roquan Smith. The majority of his snaps will likely come on third down and should come in more obvious passing situations.